Tesla Could Take on the VW ID3 and Other Small EVs With a Model 3 Hatchback

The initial plan was for Tesla to be an affordable EV company. Now, cars like the Model 3 and Model X are fairly affordable to some – especially with various federal and local tax credits – they still aren’t exactly able to compete with other entry-level cars. During a recent conference call, Elon Musk stressed this fact and even alluded to making things right, part of which means that a smaller Tesla could grace the market, and in this case, we could be talking about a Model 3 Hatchback.

A Tesla Model 3 Hatchback Could Be Impressively Affordable

Tesla Could Have a Model 3 Hatchback In the Incubator Exterior
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As reported by Autocar, Elon Musk has revealed how troubling it is that Tesla’s cars aren’t affordable enough.

“The thing that bugs me the most about where we are right now is that our cars aren’t affordable enough. We need to fix that.”

At the same time, Musk didn’t really divulge how the company is going to fix that, which for the most part, is understandable considering how the company likes to keep future launches such a big secret. He did, however, allude to the fact that the company is considering both a compact vehicle and something larger.

“It would be reasonable to assume that we would make a compact vehicle of some kind and probably a higher-capacity vehicle of some kind.”
Tesla Could Have a Model 3 Hatchback In the Incubator Exterior
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That compact vehicle would likely be a hatchback version of the Model 3 that would compete with models like the Chevy Bolt, Volkswagen ID 3, and even the Peugeot e-208 over in Europe. And, it makes even more sense when you consider that the new factor in Germany features a big aluminum casting machine – the same thing that’s used in the California plant and reduces individual frame parts for the Model Y from 70 to just 2. That means that Tesla can, in theory, throw a hatchback rear end on the Model 3 without doing a lot of extra work and keeping costs extremely low. Why do I bring up the German factory? Well, we’re pretty sure that the Model 3 Hatch will be a Euro-only affair initially.

When Will Tesla Reveal the Compact Model 3 Hatchback?

Tesla Could Have a Model 3 Hatchback In the Incubator Exterior
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When we’ll see the next compact Tesla really is a major wild card. When you consider the fact that Tesla already has a lot on its plate, it probably won’t happen soon. The Tesla Semi has yet to enter production, the Cybertruck still needs to hit the production line, and let’s not forget about the second-gen Tesla Roadster that’s been revealed for so long that it’s hard to believe it’s not on the road yet. When the compact Tesla, be it a Model 3 hatchback or not, is revealed and officially launched, you can expect it to command a price of around $30,000-$35,000 at most – this would put it in the “affordable” range that Musk is looking to achieve.

Tesla Could Have a Model 3 Hatchback In the Incubator Exterior
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The only downside is that if Tesla can’t cut production costs enough to make the new car profitable and affordable, then there’s a good chance we’ll also see a reduction in battery size. The entry-level Model 3, at the moment, comes with a 45kWh battery pack, which is good for 250 miles. The thing to remember, however, is that batteries are the dominant cost factor when it comes to EVs, so Tesla may have no choice but to introduce a smaller battery with less range. You should also write off the Model 3’s base sprint time of 5.3 seconds as well, as a smaller battery pack and smaller motors would probably push the range to around 200 miles and the sprint time into the 6.5-7.0 second range. Yeah, it’s not quite that fast, but it’ll be competitive against other compact EVs on the market today.

Tesla Model 3 specifications
Performance Dual Motor Long Range Dual Motor Standard Plus Rear-Wheel
Acceleration 0-60 mph 3.2s 4.4 s 5.3 s
Range 310 miles 322 miles 250 miles
Top Speed 162 mph 145 mph 140 mph
Wheels 20" Performance Wheels 18" Aero Wheels 19" Aero Wheels 18" Aero Wheels 19" Aero Wheels

Source: Autocar

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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